A 20-year-old Rutgers University student who is waiting tables at D’Jais Bar & Grill this summer to help put herself through school, got an unwelcome lesson in the humanities this past week.
On Aug. 17, Jess Jones of Belmar, a 2013 Manasquan High School graduate, was waiting on a party of eight people at the landmark restaurant and night club on Ocean Avenue. After the $112.03 bill was paid for by credit card, Jones discovered that her customers had left her no tip. Instead, the texting acronym “LOL” — for laughing out loud — was written on the tip line of the receipt next to the words, “1 hour for food.”
The following day, Jones took to her Facebook page to lament about the indignity, where she also posted a photo of the receipt (blurring out any personal information belonging to the offending patrons).
Jones agreed to permit the Asbury Park Press to share her story and publish the photo of the receipt.
“Last night, I was stunned by this receipt that was left for me by a party of eight people,” Jones wrote. “I would have preferred a ‘$0’ tip than a ‘LOL’ tip, but as a waitress, bad tips and harsh notes are all part of the job. Even though they did wait an hour to eat, they remained satisfied with filled drinks and proper notice that the kitchen was a bit busier than normal. I’ve worked in the service industry for five years and I take pride in providing great service to my customers.”
Jones wrote that servers in New Jersey earn $2.50 an hour. For non-tipped workers in the Garden State, the minimum wage is $8.38.
“Most of my paychecks are less than pocket change because I have to pay taxes on the tips I make,” she wrote. “I need tips to pay my bills. All waiters do. We spend an hour or more of our time befriending you, making you laugh, getting to know you, and making your dining experience the best it can be. We work hard, and we really do care.”
By Friday, the Facebook post had gone viral and was brought to the attention of Mayor Matt Doherty, who weighed in on the matter in his own public Facebook post.
“If you visit Belmar please treat the hardworking men and women in our service industry with the same respect you would expect at your job. This is ridiculous,” Doherty wrote.
“My experience with this table was cruel and unnecessary but sadly it’s not uncommon,” Jones wrote. “With that said: Please be good to your waiters. I know it’s annoying when things aren’t right. I know how aggravating it is to receive a hefty bill when all night you’ve been wondering why the table that came in after you was served before you. But waiters are mere messengers most of the time, and it’s wrong to shoot them, however bad the news.”